Carol O'Meara, Colorado State University Extension

Carol O’Meara, Colorado State University Extension

The season for gift anxiety is rolling around, and my Facebook feed is pushing articles with lists of items to give to serious hobbyists of many things. Some have good ideas, others not so much. One list stood out with so many ridiculous items for the “serious cook” that my cousin, a chef, sent it out with an outraged snarl.

I don’t blame him: it featured Hello Kitty measuring spoons, a Flying Spaghetti monster colander, and oven mitts designed to be bear paws – complete with felt claws that stuck out well past the mitt. The photos of the items did nothing to sell their usefulness. The Hello Kitty spoons just laid on a counter, the oven mitts were used by the model to entertain his children, and the colander, inexplicably, was being worn on top of a model’s head. I don’t cook that way.

But good ideas for gift giving are hard to find when you don’t participate in that hobby; you love your person but can’t relate, especially in gardening. So a few suggestions might help.

Stackable growing tower
A great gift for gardeners who have limited space or have filled every nook and cranny of their yard and still want more plants. There are several towers out there that you could consider, depending on your budget. Look for sturdy towers that have easy access to fill the water reservoir, have large enough planters that roots aren’t cramped, and stay stable during windy events.

Broadfork
Serious gardeners love this tool for turning soil without the use of motors. With two long handles, the gardener thrusts the sharp tines into the soil, then stands on the flat center of the broadfork to add weight to the downward push. Stepping off and rocking the broadfork lifts and loosens the soil. Using a broadfork takes some strength, so be sure your gardener is able to do strenuous work before gifting it to them.

Choosing a broadfork, like any tool, means shopping for quality. The broadfork will have stress applied to it when it’s pushed into and rocked out of the ground, so you don’t want a cheap product, or it will break. This translates into somewhat costly, but your gardener is worth it.

Kneelo knee pads

A memory foam design that takes the pinch out of protecting your knees. With a contoured fit and double layer of foam padding, one shock absorbing EVA the other memory foam, these knee pads are comfortable to wear. For $30, this is a nice way to tell your gardener that you care about their knees.

Razor toothed pruning saw
Slicing through limbs larger than an inch-and-a-half requires a saw, and to make the job easy, a razor toothed pruning saw is the choice. A curved blade follows the round branch nicely and keeps the cut tidy. These aren’t too expensive; a good one will cost between $25 and $30.

By Carol A. O’Meara. Carol is an Extension Agent – Horticulture Entomology at Colorado State University Extension Boulder County. For more information contact CSU Extension at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Road, Box B, Longmont, 303.678.6377, e-mail comeara@bouldercounty.org or visit ext.colostate.edu/boulder.